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Who’s started counting down the days until series two of Riverdale? Now that we know it’s arriving on US TV on Wednesday 11 October – and presumably on Netflix two days later, in its usual Friday slot – we’re struggling to focus on anything else. You see, we’ve been suffering major withdrawal symptoms over a certain Jughead Jones, aka Mr Cole Sprouse.

Is it his epic observations on the rest of Riverdale? The fact that he’s from the wrong side of the tracks? Or just because he’s so blooming cute? Who knows, but we’ve definitely got a crush on Jug and the boy behind him.

Southside Serpents and that brooding voiceover aside, there are plenty more reasons to love the actor formerly known as ‘Ben from Friends’. Here are seven of them…

He’s not just an actor, but a super talented photographer, too

A post shared by Cole Sprouse (@colesprouse) on

Cole recently shot Kendall Jenner for the Sunday Times Style magazine and has also snapped an adidas running campaign, as well as editorials for Teen Vogue. Not just a pretty face (but he does look great in front of the camera, too…)

He has a hilarious second Instagram

Who would have thought, the mother with child, would have prioritized taking our picture over steadying her baby's carriage on a moving train? I did. I would have thought. Firstly, her child is too young for The Street Life of Shaq and Kobe, so we all know she was taking that picture for herself. Unless of course she was making a long term investment, banking on the baby enjoying the show when #it grows up. #ItsCalledInvesting. Trying to be sneaky, she made the number 1 rookie mistake, #Flash. My poor, helpless, innocent, virgin brother was caught in the middle of our duel. You can see the fear in his eyes and the determination in mine, both being trumped by the look of shame in hers. #cameraduels #BabyOnBoard #FamilyDrama #TheStreetLifeOfShaqAndKobe

A post shared by Cole Sprouse (@camera_duels) on

If you’re not following @camera_duels, get on it now, because the captions alone are among the most brilliant we’ve seen. According to its bio, “This Instagram is dedicated to the people out there who secretly take photos of me, and how I take photos of them first. May the fastest camera win.” Cue a feed full of randoms trying to take sneaky snaps of Cole, accompanied by captions of who won the duel, and what the fans said in their defence. Genius.

He RT’d this girl who said her aunt looked like him and it went viral…

…which is kind of a reflection of Cole’s Twitter in itself. Full of self-deprecating humour and sarcastic life advice (“yawn in the club to see who’s checkin you out”), if you’re not following already, you know what to do.

He wrote this love letter to his mum as a kid

Then shared it with us all on Twitter. He really did have some Jughead tendencies back then, by the looks of things.

He admitted to a childhood crush on Jennifer Aniston

Speaking to the New York Post earlier this year, Cole – who played Ross’ son Ben in Friends when he was “7 or 8” – said: “I had a really, really hard time working with Aniston because I was so in love with her. I was infatuated. I was speechless — I’d get all bubbly and forget my lines and completely blank … It was so difficult.” We’d have been the same, tbf.

He’s never not cute

SERIOUSLY.

This GIF

Excuse us while we lie down for a minute…

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Image: Riverdale/Katie Edmunds

Well, it finally happened. After seven long years of viewing, we finally found out who had been torturing the Liars. Or who had been torturing the Liars for the last season and a half, anyway.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What follows is our break down of the entire episode (plus documentary evidence of my WhatsApp reactions with my friend Emily), so if you’re avoiding spoilers close this tab immediately. No, seriously, CLOSE IT. And if you’ve never watched PLL then I suggest you back away swiftly – there is nothing for you here.

Everyone else, welcome to the final installment of Pretty Little Liars…

*Sobs for a week*

Opening scene: The Liars are sitting in front of The Brew complaining about how hot it is outside. Then Lucas appears in white tails, does a little tap dance and leaves (oh my god, I am going to miss this show so much). Then Jenna comes by, on a horse and everyone’s totally chill about it because, well, this is Rosewood. Anything can happen. Which it does approximately three seconds later when it starts to snow. Oh ok, this is just inside Mona’s head. Gotcha.

Someone pass me the popcorn, I’m settling in.

Okay, now we’re a year head. That was fast. Aria and Ezra are happy, Spencer is hanging out with horses, Hannah and Caleb are fighting, Alison and Emily have twins(!) and Mona is out of the psych ward. I’m following so far.

The Liars decide to throw a party for Ezria at the Lost Woods Hotel, which Spencer now owns. Because nothing says ‘fun party’ like going to the very hotel where your torturer used to live, am I right? Then again, they also hang out at the Radley hotel all the time, which is a converted mental institution that Spencer was literally a patient at, so… who am I to judge?

They all look so happy, laughing and chatting and having a nice time (well, everyone aside from Haleb, who are making the whole thing really awkward). WAIT, there’s a person in the bushes wearing a hoodie! It’s Melissa! Seriously though, if she turns out to be A.D. I’m going to be really annoyed because she’s hardly been in the last few seasons and there’s no way she’s smart enough to pull this whole thing off. Oh wait, no – it’s Mona wearing a mask of Melissa. Jeez, this is going to be complicated, isn’t it?

Carrying on, Aria’s infertile, which seems like a strange and unnecessary storyline, but we’re going with it. Spencer and Mumma Drake are besties. WINE MOMS. THE WINE MOMS. They’re back and they’re drinking the wines and oh my god are they finally going to tell us how they escaped the doll house?!! Nope. False alarm, thanks for that Marlene. Also, I don’t like whatever is going on with Alison and Pam. I’ve never totally trusted Alison and I’m not loving this weird vibe she’s giving off at the moment.

Oh good, Emily’s with me. You go Emily. You demand to know what is going on. Oh, I love angry Emily. Oh my god. No. ALI IS PROPOSING. OH MY GOD. I TAKE IT ALL BACK. I AM NOW FIRMLY PRO-ALISON. I’ve always worried that Ali was just settling for Emily, which is why I could never get on board with the Emison fandom but now I’m into it. Sign me up.

However, I am, and always have been, staunchly pro Spoby, so I am very pleased with all of these developments. Oh, right, less pleased by Mona hitting Spencer over the head with an axe, but what can you do? New dungeon! This is a space-age one! SPENCER HAS A TWIN. THE INTERNET HAS BEEN VINDICATED. Ha, we guessed it Marlene! HOLY CRAP, WHAT IS THIS ENGLISH ACCENT? SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.

Like, what is this?! Why does she sound like Eliza Dolittle?! Evil Spencer knows Wren?! Evil Spencer is married to Wren. Evil Spencer had Wren shoot her in the shoulder so she looked exactly like Spencer. Totally normal behaviour. Oh, ok, then she killed him and turned his ashes into a diamond. She’s a real romantic, this Alex Drake. Wren is the baby daddy of Alison and Emily’s twins!

Oh, Mary Drake is here too! Trust PLL to have a family reunion in an underground bunker. I’m just going to put it out there, I don’t think Mary Drake is a great mum. I don’t think you should be so chill about the fact that one of your kids is keeping the other kid in an underground bunker. Oh god. now Ezra’s missing. Wait, it’s okay, he’s just in the bunker. I’m unclear as to why, but that hardly seems important at this point.

So Jenna and a horse realised that evil Spencer was pretending to be Spencer before her best friends did. I love the Liars, but guys, come on. A HORSE KNEW. Anyway, they are onto fake Spencer, yay, and they’ve realised that Ezra is missing rather than an asshole, excellent. Go Caleb, do your tech stuff. They’re going to make it and save good Spencer and Ezra!

Ha, like Spencer needs saving. All she needs is a hair grip and she can jiggle her way out of an intensely secure door. I really don’t feel like this show has a great grasp of how locks work, but hey.

Ohhhhh cool, there’s another “outside” layer to the dungeon. I’ve got to give it to evil Spencer, the girl has a strong dungeon game.

Oh my god, Toby’s going to have to work out which one is the real Spencer! Is he going to kiss them to work it out?! Buddy, you’ve been kissing the wrong one for few episodes, I’m not sure this is a good plan. Oh, ok, he’s asking about a poem. This is a better plan. So now they have the fake Spencer and Mona has called the cops and they’ve arrested her. Wait, is that it? Do they just get to be happy now? Is evil Spencer just going to jail?

HAHAHAHAHAHA of course she isn’t. Mona is keeping her in a bunker with Mary Drake. In France. BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE IS. Mona 100000% won End Game, I don’t care what anyone says.

No. No. This random Adison chick is not going missing. I do not care. I do not need a sequel. Please don’t do a sequel, Marlene.

Though, if you did I’d totally watch it. What can I say, I’m taking this show to the grave.

@LilyPesch

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Whether you’ve already started your period or you’re waiting to come on for the first time, it’s a different experience for everyone – and one we love to talk about. So we caught up with TV & Radio Presenter Olivia Cox, who told us all about her first period…

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Whether you’ve already started your period or you’re waiting to come on for the first time, it’s a different experience for everyone – and one we love talking about. So we caught up with Made In Chelsea star Georgia Toffolo, who told us all about her first period…

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Full disclosure before we begin: I am a Eurovision nerd. I have an agenda here, and that is to make you a Eurovision nerd too. I want as many of you as possible in my gang of happy, sequin-swaddled, flag-waving misfits, so that eventually we can take over and become the mainstream – like football fans, or Beliebers.

All I ask is that you keep an open mind, ok? Don’t judge before you really understand. Here are the reasons you should cancel whatever cool thing you were planning to do on Saturday night and watch The Eurovision Song Contest instead.

1. The hilarity

Guys, the hilarity. Anytime a Eurovision hater wrinkles their nose and asks, “but WHYYY would you watch that?”, the best and truest answer, like so many things in life, is: “for the lols”. So many lols. Lols on top of lols. Lols that sneak up on you while you’re still trying to get your breath back from the last one and so you end up snorting Fanta out of your nose.

Think about how much you laugh watching The Great British Bake Off, when you don’t even care about baking. Now imagine that The Great British Bake Off is three and a half hours long, and instead of cake and biscuits there are weird interpretative dance routines and a lot of skintight pleather, and instead of Mel and Sue you have a gang of Russian grannies singing a song about partying over a funky dance beat, or a Finnish heavy metal band dressed as terrifying monsters with badly-translated lyrics about Jesus. Or Jedward.

And if that wasn’t good enough, Graham Norton is then cracking his own piss-take jokes over the top. It’s so funny it counts as an abs workout. It’d be unhealthy NOT to watch.

2. The love

Like a warm, inclusive hug so big it encompasses a whole continent, Eurovision is for everyone. Whether you’re a drag queen with a luscious black beard who wants to own the stage in a fabulous evening gown, a long-forgotten star who wants to make a comeback or a giant turkey puppet who just wants to make themselves heard, there’s space on the stage for you – and your troop of kooky backing dancers. “Come on up!” says Eurovision. “We don’t care if you’re a weirdo! We don’t even care if you can sing!”

“Except you, Britain. You can’t sit with us.”

3. The spectacle

So bold, bonkers and glitter-fabulous it makes the final of RuPaul’s Drag Race look like Newsnight, Eurovision is a feast for ALL your senses. Except maybe your sense of taste.

Expect: big dresses that open out into BIGGER dresses; costumes apparently made from tin foil; makeup that looks like a YouTube tag challenge; people wearing things as hats that were definitely not intended to be hats; confetti cannons; acrobats unfurling from the ceiling on… unfurling things; pyrotechnics so violent you worry for everybody’s eyebrows; dancers you have to squint extra hard at to double-check they’re not naked. Sometimes all in one entry.

The bonding potential

Whether you use it as an excuse to spend some quality time with your family (why not be super cool like mine, and watch it with your own individual scorecards?), gather your mates for a viewing party (why not be super cool like mine, and watch it with your own individual scorecards?) or just cosy up by yourself with every Korean sheet mask in Superdrug (why not be super cool like me, and watch it with… haha no but, seriously), Eurovision is the kind of fun-packed cultural event that solid gold memories are made of.

And it only comes around once a year, so cherish it while you have the chance.

The underdog stories

This year marks 20 years since the UK last won Eurovision (with Katrina and the Waves’ belter of a ballad, Love Shine A Light – check out the velvet trouser suit). Sob. In recent years our track record has gone from average to embarrassing, to ‘oh s**t’, to now, where we probably wouldn’t win even if our entry was Adele, riding a giant unicorn, wearing a t-shirt that said ‘SORRY ABOUT BREXIT’ on it.

But that’s also part of the fun! Because we get to learn humility, and weep along when the underdog rises up to claim the victory. We get to pretend that we were, like, obviously only joking for that 10 minutes we spent passionately telling everyone we might stand a chance after Ireland gave us a whole six points, and we get to listen to our Dads’ traditional “but PAH, we produced THE BEATLES!!” speech at the end after they’ve had a few Belgian lagers. Fun!

6. The musical heritage

Right so, admittedly Eurovision tends to give us more in the novelty nonsense category than it does in the ‘actual music you might listen to the rest of the year’ realm, but over the past 61 years there have been a few legitimately brilliant hits. For one thing, ABBA became famous after winning Eurovision in 1974. Without it, there would be no Mamma Mia and therefore no Dominic Cooper singing Lay All Your Love On Me in his swimming trunks. So let’s be thankful for that.

And even our own little island was one of the popular kids, once. Watch Lulu’s 60s stonker Boom Bang A Bang, Brotherhood of Man’s 70s twee-fest Save Your Kisses For Me and Bucks Fizz’s 80s classic Making Your Mind Up for a taste of simpler times, when all we had to do to impress our neighbours over the channel was backcomb our hair huge and do a silly dance. Sigh.

The snack potential

Everyone knows that the correct way to watch Eurovision is in front of a vast buffet of Euro-themed treats that cover every country on the list. But if your local Tesco is fresh out of Moldovan cabbage rolls and Ukrainian pig’s trotter jelly, hummus and pizza will probably do.

It’s basically educational

I mean, do YOU know exactly what the capital of Slovakia is, or how to pronounce Bosnia Herzegovina? No don’t lie.

We might win!

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA obviously we won’t. There is more chance of Prince, David Bowie and Whitney Houston all coming back to life and forming a supergroup with Prince Phillip on drums than of the UK winning Eurovision this year, or any year for the foreseeable future. But hey, we still *might*! It’s not technically impossible!

And if we DO, mate, trust me – you are going to want to see that.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Sunday evening. Doom. A time of the week so loathed that it even got its own syndrome, the Sunday night blues. That sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach couldn’t be more different from the fizzy excitement of the Friday feeling just 48 hours before.

But I think Sunday evening gets a bum rap. Rather than being a boring passage of time to kill before getting on with Monday, it’s actually flying under the radar as secretly, secretly the best time of the week.

No, hear me out. Here are three reasons why.

1. Homework

Most articles about Sundays advise that you get your homework done on Friday so that you don’t have a pile to face at the end of the weekend. This can be a good idea, sure, but I also think that Sunday night is a brilliant time to do homework. By Friday evening you’re often knackered from a busy week and need a bit of a break. Plus loads of the good stuff happens on Friday night! However dedicated you are to getting good grades, it’s not realistic (or good for your overall wellbeing) to expect yourself to turn down the chance to go out and have fun in order to finish your Geography essay (no disrespect, Geography).

So rather than feeling the pressure to get everything finished at the start of the weekend, see how it feels to open your books when it’s quiet on a Sunday night anyway. Decide in advance what time you’re going to start so that you don’t spend the whole day thinking about it, then stick on a chilled playlist and enjoy working knowing that you’ve already had a great weekend. Hopefully.

2. Comfort TV

You might think I’m deranged for saying this but the best TV is on Sunday evenings. I know that literally no one else in the world agree with me. My best friend claims that the theme tune to The Antiques Roadshow actually triggers the Sunday night blues for her.

But I don’t understand this at all. Regardless of how boring the programme itself may be, you can have loads of fun with it. As well as the classic game where you guess the value of the item, there’s also ‘Sad, smug, surprised’ (copyright: me), in which you have to predict whether the owner will look, well, sad, smug or surprised at the valuation. Get those around you to join in. You never know what you might learn from their rationale; turns out my boyfriend has an irrational dislike of red trousers on men.

And whatever your idea of comfort TV, there’s something to suit scheduled on Sunday evenings. Get all teary at Call the Midwife, indulge fantasies about a former life at Downton-esque period dramas, go all Cluedo watching a crime mystery or be on alert for embarrassing moments in live productions, like when everyone’s slightly creepy uncle Tom Jones dropped the F-bomb during The Voice final or when Bruno swears on Strictly. Bruno is *always* swearing on Strictly.

If you can invent a silly game to accompany your chosen programmes then that makes it even better – in a world that can seem scary and unpredictable, there’s something super comforting about looking out each week for the same element of a television programme. As well as The Antiques Roadshow, I totally recommend Countryfile for this. No seriously. Entertain yourself playing ‘Snog, marry, avoid’ with the presenters, of which there are many and they change each week. If you’re lucky Tomasz Schafernaker, the Dermot O’Leary of weather forecasting, will be the meteorologist #winningatlife.

3. Do what you like

If for some bizarre reason neither homework nor crap – sorry, ‘comfort’ – TV take your fancy then there’s always the Sunday night trump card: free time. You probs don’t often have anything scheduled for this time of the week so it can be totally clear for you to fill with whatever you fancy. There are so many options. Maybe you’d like to visit your gran more, or have a regular slot to Skype your mate who has moved abroad. Perhaps you’re always searching for a few hours to work on a project, such as writing a blog, or you’d like to claw back the chance to read books that aren’t set texts.

However big or small your ambitions, what we often think of as dead time from about 4pm on a Sunday offers a great opportunity – even if all you want to do is lie on the sofa eating cake. Because really, isn’t that what Sunday evenings were made for? I’m off to put the kettle on.

@rae_ritchie_

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Image: Katie Edmunds

It’s here! The best holiday of the year. Seriously, Easter is the ideal holiday, there’s none of the pressure of Christmas, none of the outfit stress of Halloween and none of the pressure of New Year’s Eve. It’s the Chris Pratt of holidays, but with delicious snacks.

Here’s everything we’ve been reading, watching and loving this week.

Could we *be* more excited?

Pretty much as soon as the final episode of Friends aired and we watched the six of them (plus a few babies) wander down to Central Perk for the last time, people were clamouring for a reunion. And now they’ve got it. Sort of. According to The Independent, there’s an off-Broadway musical coming to New York later this year called Friends! The Musical, written by Bob and Tobly McSmith who have written similar musicals for 90210 and Full House. The show will feature songs such as ‘The One Where We Make A Million Dollars An Episode,’ ‘The Only Coffee Shop in New York,’ ‘Oh. My God. It’s Janice!’. We’ll be there for you…if we can get free flights and accommodation in New York.

This idea has legs

Yoga teacher, Shea penned a love letter on her Instagram account, @shastavibes. But it’s not to a her partner or her crush, she’s written a love letter to her thighs. Turns out, poking them and wishing they miraculously become smaller is stupid and also, might lead to bruising. Instead, why not join Shea and the body positivity movement that seems to be growing more and more brilliant everyday. Kudos Shea, and kudos to your thighs too.

Dear Thighs, "I’m in love with you, every inch, every lump all the way up from my knees to my rump" You may not be slender, or tanned, or smooth, but you’re up for the challenge when I start to move you power through squats, lunges, and stairs, and you don’t seem to mind when some people glare" ..✏️📓 ____________________________________________________ This whole journey to body acceptance and self-love is kind of a roller coaster, but an exciting one that I’m gonna keep riding. Each day I am learning that my self-worth is based less on what others think and more on how I feel. And lately, I feel really good. I was realizing today that my body is becoming less of an object of comparison in my mind, and more of a tool. My body is a method of accomplishing day to day things and that’s it. So far it’s doing a damn good job. In fact, it rarely lets me down. So for that reason alone, I should be completely in love with it. So to my thighs and all my other perfectly strong and functional body parts, thank you for getting shit done. <3 #postpartumfitness #postpartumbody #thickfit #thunderthighs #plussize #thickwomen #thickyogi #melanin #blackyogasuperstars

A post shared by Shea (@shastavibes) on

We Read Too

Kaya Thomas, a university student in the State was tired of not seeing enough people of colour or women in tech in books. So, like a boss, she decided to do something about it. She’s created an app called We Read Too which features over 600 books with main characters who are people of colour or women in tech. The idea, design and coding are all her own, NBD. When you spoke to Teen Vogue about why she thinks this project is so important she explained, “It’s for those of who want young people of color to be exposed to books where they seem themselves reflected in the characters and the authors. But it’s also for people who want to be exposed to different cultures than their own…I think fiction especially helps you get a better understanding of another person’s story, and that helps you build empathy.” Aaaaaand download.

Orange is the New Black Season Five Trailer

The trailer for Season 5 of Orange is the New Black has dropped and urgh, now it’s just left us with more questions. It picks off where season four ended, with Daya pointing a gun at CO Humphrey’s head with the rest of the inmates screaming at her to shoot him. Then, because the people who make trailers are evil geniuses, the screen goes black and you hear a gunshot and everyone screams. So. Much. Intrigue. Season Five will be released on Friday June 9th, and apparently will take place “in real-time over the course of three days”. Urgh, only 56 days to wait.

Baby, put your hands up. Literally.

Look, this isn’t really news. But it’s adorable and it’s Easter and so we’re going to throw it in anyway.

Have a lovely Easter x

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If you have plans this evening, you’re probably going to want to cancel them (sorry, Bee).

It’s Red Nose Day, which means Comic Relief. Possibly the best night of TV for the entire year will be airing on BBC1 this evening from 7pm-10pm, so we’re busting out the popcorn and putting our phones on aeroplane mode.

Comic Relief helps raise funds for numerous charities that help children in need and tackle worldwide poverty. Every single pound is spent on charitable projects, and this year six celebrities including David Baddiel and Reggie Yates drove 450 miles from Kenya to Uganda on one of the most dangerous roads in the world to see how the donations make a difference and to deliver vital supplies to those who need them most.

If you want to get involved in fundraising for Comic Relief there’s still time, why not check out there website here.

Tonight’s show boasts an impressive line up of comedians, actors and all-round funny people, As per usual, Sir Lenny Henry will be hosting and there will be guest appearances from Joe Lycett, Rob Beckett, Romesh Ranganathan, Warwick Davis, Sally Phillips, Jonathan Ross and French & Saunders.

Graham Norton will be interviewing people on a giant red sofa (obvs), Russell Brand will be doing some new stand-up material and Noel Fielding will make an appearance (hopefully armed with a lot of baking puns and scone in hand so we can all start adjusting to the idea of him as a host of Bake Off).


Ed Sheeran will be singing live – according to the law that says none of us can go a day without seeing Ed Sheeran right now – and we can’t be the only ones hoping there’ll be a guest appearance from the little girl that looks eerily like a tiny clone of Ed.


James Corden will be doing a Carpool Karaoke special – we’re hoping he’s gonna be interviewing the *other* Obama.


And then there’s the event we’ve all been waiting for: Red Nose Day Actually.

(Most) of the cast of Love Actually will be reuniting for a special 10 minute update on where the characters ended up, 13 years later. It’s confirmed that Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Liam Neeson and Keira Knightly will all be there. Of course, the reunion will be bitter sweet without Alan Rickman, who will be sorely missed. Always.

But we’re hoping that Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) will have another absurd song, only this time he’ll be helping Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Joanna (Olivia Olson) launch their music career. And that Jamie (Colin Firth) will have written a dystopian YA trilogy that he’s just sold the film rights for, with Zac Efron rumoured for the lead role. But hey, those are just our hopes and dreams. Don’t break our hearts, guys.

Grab your comfiest pyjamas and the best spot on the sofa – it’s going to be a brilliant night.

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So, no one told you life was going to be this way. You’re life’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA (which stands for Dead On Arrival, I only found that out a few years ago). Sure, you have friends who’ll be there for you blah blah, but the more important question is: which capital F Friend are you? You might think you’re part Rachel, part Joey with Chandler undertones, but what does science* say? Let’s find out!

*Our incredibly subjective made-up quiz.

Your friends would describe you as:

Your nightmare room to be stuck in is:

What’s your fave snack?

What's your worst quality?

What's your favourite subject at school?

If you won £10 million what would you do with it?

What's your dream pet?

Were Ross and Rachel on a break?

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

I once bought a cross stitch kit that included silk threads in 27 different shades of beige. No, really.

In the end my desire to create a scene of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet on a bridge wasn’t as great as my inability to distinguish between tan, sand, fawn and all the rest, so I dumped the kit on a friend (she gave up on it too) – but hey, not all attempts at starting a new hobby go so badly.

Plus it’s a good thing to try new activities in our free time. Studies have shown that having interests (even beige ones) helps to make us happier. They are also a way to make new friends and escape from the pressures of school, homework and exams for a bit. What’s not to like about that?

So in the spirit of January, here are eight new extra-curricular activities to try in 2017, based on things you already love. Oh, and none of them require you to leave the sofa. Much.

If you already love colouring books…

Dot-to-dot is the new kid on the mindfulness block! But just as the recent trend for colouring is nothing like what you did when you were four, the new dot-to-dot books are hardcore, with literally hundreds of tiny points to join together. This requires some serious concentration but also distracts from stress and anxiety. You can draw (ok, dot) everything from famous people’s heads to adorable puppies – check out Thomas Pavitte’s books for the coolest selection.

As well as putting pen to paper, folding it is suddenly big news too. The ancient Japanese art of origami is so hot right now, and if you’re looking for a challenge as well as bedroom decs that don’t cost a million pounds on Etsy, this could be for you. Creating animals and birds from paper requires a lot of patience, even if you have a kit explaining what to do, but the results are seriously delightful. For inspiration (and to give your folding fingers a rest), read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

origami

Another hobby with Insta-appeal is calligraphy. The art of beautiful lettering is centuries old, but that doesn’t stop YouTube and Pinterest being great places to learn the basics – with some practice you’ll be able to use calligraphy to create beautiful art based on your favourite poems and quotes. Get started now and you could have Christmas 2017 sorted by summer. How smug?

If you already love binge watching…

One of my goals for the year is to become a minor expert in EastEnders. What? I figured it would be fun to develop my obsession with the soap into an actual hobby, so I’ve started connecting with other fans through Twitter and reading books about the show’s history. If you also love geeking out over new subjects, you could try taking your TV fandom to the next level. Join forums, learn about how it’s made, write fan fiction about your favourite characters. Clear a shelf for some hand-painted Game of Thrones figurines. However you want to let your geek flag fly.

Or, switch media – instead of binge watching, try binge reading. If there’s an author you really like, work your way through all of their back catalogue. Not sure where to begin? There are loads of recommendations out there: check out the Zoella Book Club or Goodreads. Don’t forget this is a cheap hobby! Your school or local library will house enough books for even the most dedicated binge reader, so get a sturdy bag and let your inner Belle run wild.

belle

If you already love crafts…

Whether you’re used to using pins and needles or scissors and glue, if you like crafting then how about turning your hand to upcycling? Nothing to do with bikes or hills, promise. Upcycling is kind of like recycling, only the goal is to make the new item as good or if not even better than it was before. It’s an awesome way to personalise your clothes or your space, and fill grey Sunday afternoons in a way that won’t induce a parental nag-fest. Unless you get paint on the carpet.

Check out charity shops for small chests of drawers or an old mirror to paint. Rummage in your wardrobe for items that you’ve grown out of. Search for inspiration online (Pinterest is great for this, obviously). Mega upcycler Lili from Chicago told me that she is proud of herself for being able to reuse items – like the purses she’s recently made out of old shirts. She says, “It’s really nice to know that you are able to make something beautiful out of something that you don’t use anymore. You can easily make something really cool.”

It was you, it was always you… (find the DIY on ohhappyday.com 🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮

A post shared by Oh Happy Day (@ohhappyday) on

If you already enjoy blogging…

There are so many hobbies to have a bash at if you like writing. Try going small scale and keep a one sentence diary – not as easy as it sounds. These can go on for YEARS, so you’re able to look back at memories that you might otherwise forget about (although in the case of your year seven crushes that might not be a good thing).

At the other end of the scale, experiment with making a fanzine. This is basically a small magazine that reflects your loves and passions. It could be about music, films, fashion, poetry, cheese toasties… anything. Join forces with friends to make it a sociable thing: work on one together, or all make your own and trade them. There’s a whole ‘zine scene out there of people swapping homemade mags, and you never know where it might lead. Sharmadean Reid started out with a fanzine that eventually led to her creating WAH Nails.

stranger-things-fanzine

@mermaidblobs

See, told you hobbies were cool.

@rae_ritchie_

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When Gilmore Girls – everyone’s favourite fast-talking, coffee-guzzling, soul-soothing mother/daughter lovefest – announced that it would be returning to our screens with a Netflix reunion series, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, there was an implicit challenge: to watch all seven seasons before the new one was released.

It’s been a tough and gruelling few months, as we and everyone we know tried to binge (or re-binge) the previous seven seasons before November 25th. It warmed our hearts, then broke our hearts, then warmed them all over again. There were hilarious moments, nail-biting moments, and moments where a rogue spoiler made us want to throw our pumpkin spice lattes at the wall (it’s ok Lily, I forgive you – Lauren).  

But that day is finally here, so for those of your who made it to the end of the series in time: congratulations!

For those of you who didn’t: fear not, we’ve put together a summary of all 153 episodes distilled into 700 words. Kind of. 

WARNING: what follows is basically one giant spoiler. If you don’t want to be spoiled, scroll no further.

Got that? On your marks, get set, GO!

This is Stars Hollow

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This is the small town in Connecticut where all the magic takes place. There’s a town square, a town troubadour, people get dragged out of bed in the middle of the night for town meetings, and there’s even a town fundraiser where everyone just sits in the square and knits. If you’ve never yearned to live in a tiny town where everyone knows your business before, you will now.

This is Lorelai Gilmore

lorelai

This is Lorelai Gilmore. She really likes coffee. She also likes junk food, sarcasm and winding up her mother, Emily, with whom she fell out when she got pregnant at 16 with her daughter, Rory. Lorelai and Rory, meanwhile, have the mother-daughter ‘best friend’ relationship everyone dreams of. They make each other laugh, they binge watch terrible films together and they eat medically inadvisable quantities of pizza and pop tarts.

This is Rory Gilmore

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This is also Lorelai Gilmore, but she goes by Rory. Yes, Lorelai named her daughter after herself because she’s awesome.

Rory is crazy smart. She got a scholarship to a fancy private school and ended up going to Yale University before getting a job working on Obama’s campaign (NBD). Rory is adored by pretty much everyone; her mum thinks she’s an angel, her grandparents tried to donate a building to Yale in her honour, boys fall at her feet and the town of Stars Hollow made her their poster girl Ice Cream Queen. Let’s be real, there’s no greater honour than that.

These are Emily and Richard Gilmore

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These are Lorelai’s parents. They are mega-posh. We’re talking: they have a MAID posh. But with their mega-poshness comes their tendency to disapprove of everything Lorelai does, from being a teen mom to loving a man who drives a truck to making too many jokes over the foie gras.

Sadly actor Edward Herrmann passed away two years ago (the trailer leads us to believe there will be a tribute to him – all the feels), but Emily Gilmore will be there, in all her sassy glory, organising lunches and cocktail parties and rocking a pant suit better than anyone since Hillary Clinton.

This is Luke Danes

luke

Luke. Oh Luke. Luke’s like those viral videos you see of bears that initially seem kinda grumpy and cross, but then do something super sweet and give you an overwhelming urge to reach through the screen and hug them.

He and Lorelai have your classic TV will-they-won’t-they relationship. Finally, after five seasons of *agonising*, they eventually started dating (yay!) and got engaged (double yay!) then lived happily ever after. Lol jks. Actually, Luke’s 12-year-old daughter appeared out of the blue, put a spanner in the works and Luke and Lorelai broke up (negative yays). But, the very end of the show saw them snogging in street – and the trailer for the reunion leads us to hope for more Luklai (this isn’t a thing, but let’s make it a thing) worked their differences out.

This is Christopher Haden

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Christopher is Rory’s absurdly handsome dad. He and Lorelai have more chemistry than your GCSE science textbook, but never quite seem to make it work. They were on-again-off-again throughout the series until they got married on a whim in Paris (plot twist!) after Luke and Lorelai broke off their engagement. Then they split up when Lorelai realised the reality of their relationship wasn’t quite as good as the version she had in her head. Damn reality.

This is Sookie St. James

sookie

Sookie is Lorelai’s BFF, after Rory. She’s an incredible chef who co-owns The Dragonfly Inn with Lorelai (friendship goals). She’s your basic role model for clumsy, adorable sidekicks the world over. I mean, look at her dimples. Just look at them. She’s married to Jackson, who is her vegetable supplier (yep, that’s as cute as it sounds) and they have – eventually – three kids together.

This is Dean Forester

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Dean is Rory’s first love. They went to drive-in movies, they made out a lot, he built her a car WITH HIS BARE HANDS. Everything was perfect, until…

This is Jess Mariano

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Jess is the boy all parents fear. He wears a leather jacket. And a cuff. Look at the cuff. He reads intense philosophy books and has a lot of Deep Thoughts. He and Rory never so much broke up as Jess just disappeared, riding into the sunset on a horse (okay, I made up the bit about the horse).

This is Logan Huntzberger

logan

Rory meets Logan at Yale. Initially, she hates him, because let’s be honest, he’s a pretty hateable guy. He’s very blonde and very rich and is a member of a rich-people society called The Life and Death Brigade (seriously). Despite all this, she ends up falling in love with him and goes through a really rebellious phase where she gets arrested for stealing a yacht, drops out of Yale and moves in with her grandparents. It’s all very un-Rory. In the final season, Logan proposed to her in front of all her friends and family, which was pretty presumptuous of him. And awkward when she said no.

This is Lane Kim

lane

Lane is Rory’s BFF. When she and Rory were teenagers, she’d hide her rock ‘n’ roll love tendencies from her super strict Korean mother (FYI watching in 2016, this whole subplot seems slightly racist). She eventually falls in love with and marries her bandmate Zack, and gets pregnant with twins on their honeymoon (people in Stars Hollow are apparently rabbit-level fertile, and their sex ed classes really suck).

This is Paris Geller

paris

Rory’s rival-turned-roommate-and-friend, and also possibly the most intense woman in the world. She will almost certainly be President of the United States at some point. She also shares a surname with Monica and Ross from Friends, and we like to believe that somewhere in an alternative TV universe, they’re cousins.

So… what next?

There’s only one way to find out what happens in 2016 Stars Hollow, and that’s to watch it and see. But we’ve had a bash at our own predictions anyway, because it felt like the kind of thing Lorelai would do.

“The series will end with Rory giving birth to a daughter, who she also calls Lorelai.”

“Taylor and Miss Patty will elope and open a classical dance studio together, where they only teach dances that wouldn’t look out of place in Pride and Prejudice.”

Paris will be more successful than Rory. Rory’s cutesy Pollyanna act might have beat Paris in Chilton, but this is the real world, and in the real world, women like Paris run the Pentagon and women like Rory eat Pop Tarts with their mothers.”

“Dean will be back with Lindsay and will have voted Trump.”

Kirk is the social media manager for every small business in Stars Hollow now.”

“Emily Gilmore will have her grieving period over Richard, then become utterly FABulous.”

Lane will have split up with Zach years ago, and now has a pretty-popular-quite-respected art rock band in Boston. I don’t care what happens to the twins.”

“Mrs. Kim will run a Christian-themed 6:30am exercise bootcamp class in the square.”

“Jess will spend most of his time on Twitter, sliding into the DMs of women in their early 20s.”

So, there we go. Now you’re all caught up, you’re ready to watch the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Let the witty banter soothe your soul and bring a glimmer of happiness to 2016.

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Image: Manjit Thapp

Oh balls! Ed Balls has finally been voted off Strictly Come Dancing, and I for one am DEVASTATED.

Not just because he was the best bad dancer they’ve probably ever had (his Gangnam Style will go down in SCD history as one of the bravest and most memorable pieces of choreography ever conceived), but also because I think he set a great example to us all.

Here’s what we can learn from Ed Balls’ time on Strictly

It really is the taking part that counts

Ed was never going to be the best dancer on the show (that award goes to Danny ‘SNAKE HIPS’ Mac, obvs), but from the first episode – when he nervously took to the floor to perform a genteel waltz – he was dedicated to learning, improving and generally putting his best foot forward (literally). And I think it really paid off. Yes, there are better dancers in the show, but I doubt many of them have made as many happy memories as Mr Balls.

Practice really does make (something sort of close to) perfect

OK, let’s be honest, none of Ed’s performances were what you’d call ‘perfect,’ BUT you can’t deny his dancing technique did improve as the series progressed. So no, none of us will be able to master absolutely everything we turn our hands to (I, for one, am still an abysmal violin player despite EIGHT YEARS of lessons – sorry mum!), but if you keep at it, you will at least improve. A bit. Probably.

Dad dancing is underrated

As I watched Ed enthusiastically fling Katya round the dancefloor, I was reminded of the many times I’ve hit the dancefloor with my own dad (usually at family weddings or Bar Mitzvahs), and realised that those are some of my fondest dancing memories. The lesson? Never ever pass on an opportunity to two-step with your pa. Yes, you’ll probably both look slightly ridiculous, but it’s a small price to pay for the #mems.

Laugh (at yourself) and the whole world will laugh WITH you

As the former Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls could have easily refused to go with the flow (‘the flow’ being making a complete plonker of himself on national TV), but he didn’t. He embraced every silly second of his time on SCD, and in the process, totally won over his haters. Remember this next time you walk out of a public loo with your skirt tucked in your knickers.

Dancing like no one’s watching is as good as all those inspirational posters make out

It might be a massive cliché, but if Ed proved one thing, it’s that we should all dance like nobody’s watching more often. He may have been a nervous wreck for the first few weeks, but by the end of his time on the show, Ed’s confidence had grown to the point where he was 100% in the zone and having THE BEST TIME EVER, despite the fact 10million people were tuned in. If he can do that, you can definitely let go on the dancefloor of your next school disco.

Thanks for everything, Ed.

@MissSisiG

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